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Children’s headshots, a complete guide for Parents

Children’s Headshots, a complete Guide for Parents

Anthony Farrimond

How can I get a great kid’s headshots for my child? I decided to create this guide, full of tips and advice because I get asked this question so often. For guidance on children’s headshots read on or jump to a section using the links below.

Over the last couple of years, you’ve seen your child grow. They’ve developed a passion for the performing arts, most likely through school and now they’re showing interest in learning new skills at specialist schools. Weekends and evenings are jam-packed with courses, classes, practising and it’s amazing to see how their creativity makes them so happy. But where is this all leading to? Pretty soon, if not already, they’ll be asked to audition for something with a professional production company. You’ll be asked to help them update their CV and get a professional headshot done. No matter their age or stage in their development, when it comes to working on a professional production whether that be a 2-minute commercial or as part of a chorus line on stage they’ll need to fulfil these basic requirements to be ‘seen’ I’ve put together everything you need to know about headshots into one useful guide with a hope that it helps you make the right choices when it comes to your child’s headshots. So exactly what is a headshot? It’s a lot of things, including but not limited to their look, acting type, playing age range and much more besides. Getting all of this info crammed into one single image can seem daunting, it can be but understanding what it is can make what is one of the most important photos of them, relatively easy to achieve. What’s the reward? Getting the headshot right can literally open doors and it works for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I’ve no doubt raised several questions so before we muddy the water any further, let’s break it down and figure out exactly what goes into a winning headshot.

A headshot is often the first thing that is considered when submitting yourself to agents or for castings.

What do you need a headshot for?

Your child’s headshot isn’t just there to accompany their CV, it has so many uses. Perhaps you have a website, you most certainly will use it for their online casting profiles etc. And of course, you’ll submit it to agents in the hope for representation. Their face is literally their brand and their headshot illustrates that for all the world to see.

What do I mean when I say ‘brand’? A brand is something that people find immediately recognisable, Your child’s headshot represents what’s on offer, like a poster advertising a product, when someone meets them for the first time, they should already have an understanding of what to expect. Their headshot will help them do this. So like many big brands, it’s useful to use their headshot in as many places as possible, connecting any online profiles to their social media and so on.

What does a casting director want from a headshot?

Similar to a passport photo, a headshot should look like your child. When a casting director looks at their headshot they want to see that it actually looks like them but more than that, they want to get a sense of how they might fit the role they are casting for. They will go through hundreds of submissions making it incredibly important that their headshot stands out, that if they had met them previously, they will immediately recognise them.

Casting directors will have something very specific in mind so it’s incredibly important, especially early on in their career, to establish the type of roles they want to go for. Your headshot will, at least in part, represent that. Paired with the right casting, this increases your chances of being picked out from the crowd.

What else should you consider? A casting director should get an idea of their age range from their headshot, their socioeconomic background (working class, upper class etc), an idea of their looks, what role(s) they would be best suited to and of course some indication of their personality.

When a casting director looks at their headshot they want to see that it actually looks like you but more than that, they want to get a sense of how you might fit the role they are casting for.

What makes a good headshot?

A good headshot should give us an idea of who they are as an actor and potentially which roles they are best suited to. They are unique and their headshot should show that.

Your child’s headshot should look like them but on a good day. They say that you should never judge a book by its cover, that’s true, however in this case the cover should look the best it possibly can but does that mean having a full makeover and the resulting images be retouched almost beyond recognition, no, and we’ll talk about that a little later on.

We can’t deny that the physical aspects of a headshot will be considered but there is a great deal of importance in what lies underneath, a good headshot will give us an opportunity to see that too. If you’re not sure what that means or unsure as to who they, the actor, are then it’s probably time you sat down with them and write it down.  A great exercise is to sit down and write down your best qualities as an actor, your parts of your personality that you want to associate with what you do and then ask your friends to do the same for you. This is your list of things you need from your headshot. Depending on their age, this might not be entirely practical but you get the idea!

What makes a bad headshot?

Think about the absolute worst scenario, you submit your child’s headshot to a casting, get accepted, travel all the way down to London only to be turned away because they look nothing like their headshot. That is pretty much the main thing that makes a headshot ‘bad’.

It can go horribly wrong elsewhere too, logos, crazy fabrics, distracting jewellery, backgrounds that take over the photo (like trees growing out of the back of your head) and far too much make-up.

The last thing you want a casting director or prospective agent to be thinking is, “what is this person wearing?” or “who on earth took this photo?”. If they are thinking that, they aren’t thinking of casting you or putting them on their books.

Be prepared – what to know before getting your headshots taken.

You’ve invested both time and money into getting your child’s headshots done, it’s important that you should be clear on what you want to get from their headshot session.

Preparing for their headshots isn’t just about getting a haircut and getting plenty of sleep, it also requires a great deal of thought as well. What will you use your headshots for? Which type will they play? What do they aspire to?

You should be able to answer all of these questions already, take inspiration from the styles of shows they like on Netflix. If they seem to be drawn to one particular style you should ensure that their headshots fit that tone.

You should also be thinking about the types of roles they wish to play also. The clothing choices you make should complement the look and feel of those roles they aspire to.

Preparing for your headshots isn’t just about getting a haircut and getting plenty of sleep, it also requires a great deal of thought as well.

What questions should I ask a headshot photographer?

These are the best questions to ask a headshot photographer:

 

  • Do you have a portfolio of your past work?
  • What are your rates?
  • What is included in your rate?
  • Do you shoot indoor or outdoor?
  • How many looks does your session include?
  • How long is a session?
  • Do you recommend anyone for makeup, hair, retouching?

What can I expect from a headshot photoshoot?

Headshot photoshoots last at least one hour and can go up to three hours.

You should bring their wardrobe changes with you. If you’re shooting outdoors, wear comfortable shoes, especially if you will be walking to different locations—your feet won’t show up in the shot. Your photographer will shoot them from various different angles.

You should expect your photographer to sit them down and go through what you’ve discussed prior to the shoot. This should help keep things fresh and help you relax before the shooting begins!

How can they relax during their headshot session?

This is where having a great rapport with your photographer is really important.

Being able to engage easily with the person taking your photograph will help you relax. Some photographers will even direct you.

It can be overwhelming having built up how important getting this headshot right is, but that shouldn’t make you feel nervous. The key to a great headshot is being relaxed, have fun! Let their personality shine through.

How often should I get new headshots taken?

They should get new headshots taken every one or two years, every 6 months to one year for children.

Any time they change their look, they need new headshots. If they get a considerable haircut, dye it a different colour, or if they gain/lose a significant amount of weight, they should also get new headshots.

Are their current headshots benefiting or hurting their career. Are they getting positive feedback on them? Or are they getting called in less because their headshot doesn’t look like them?

How do I pick the right headshot?

To pick the right headshot, ask your family, friends and other actors, for advice.

Your photographer should send you a link to an online gallery of your images from their shoot. Ask people to take a look through the gallery and pick their favourites. Ask them to give you feedback on the styles or roles they come across as in them, how does this compare to that list you thought of prior to their shoot?

It can be a difficult thing, looking at row upon row of images but keep a clear mind and focus on the importance of this headshot and what it will do for them over the coming months.

Has this left you with more questions?

It’s a daunting thing arranging headshots and the compulsion is to go with the first person recommended. Apply the same process you would when making a significant purchase. A headshot isn’t a house or a car but done right is incredibly valuable. Get in touch if you have any questions at all or want to discuss this further!

Anthony is best known as a leading headshot and portrait photographer, working primarily with actors & businesses across the UK.

He’s a blogger, speaker, coach and advisor

Want some quick advice?

I regularly schedule calls to answer your questions, it all starts with a quick message from you.

What sets Anthony apart is that he really takes the time to understand exactly who you are as a performer, both by having a discussion before the shoot and constantly during the session.

Lucy Ivison

My secret recipe for the Perfect Headshot

My Secret Recipe for the Perfect Headshot

Anthony Farrimond

I believe everyone should have the best possible chance at creating a winning headshot, which is why I coach my clients from the moment we book, right through to the end of their session. The whole process starts with one simple statement that I ask everyone to answer before we start to plan our session.

“I would hire (me), if I were looking for (…)”

Unless you know the answer to that statement, how can you be sure it’s what you will project in your headshots? This is where my whole process starts and once you know what ‘type’ you are we add my recipe for a successful session.

1. Add a good helping of Honesty

Your expression should be real, so we start by finding your neutral point and do small variations around that. Expression should be effortless, trying too hard can come across fake, or overzealous neither are qualities of a professional actor that has the skills and experience to deliver a believable performance.

I like to keep backgrounds simple this is to reduce the look of it being too much like a photo shoot. This, together with how I use light during a session produces a look like a still taken whilst on set.

Finally retouching is light, removing anything temporary like spots, a nik from shaving or something that would be removed with make up whilst on set.

2. Fold your ingredients Effortlessly

Once you have a grasp of your natural expression we find a rhythm and make small changes, by the end of the session you’re doing this without thinking.

We try to capture your image as if you are on set (a production still). These shots are invariably captured whilst you are working and you don’t really think too much about it at the time. In these images you’re not trying too hard in front of the camera and so it looks natural and effortless.

It’s plausible that the image wasn’t taken from an actual headshot session. This is what we hope to achieve during the session.

3. Finish with a Personal touch

It’s very important that you bring something into the shot, something of you that we can identify with, this will be different for everyone.

Perhaps its your charm or wit, your fragility, gravitas or warmth.

There’s no room for bland, safe, neutral headshots in this industry. They should be something that makes you stand out, competitive and should always relate to my initial question – ‘I would hire (me) if I were looking for a (…)’.

Anthony is best known as a leading headshot and portrait photographer, working primarily with actors & businesses across the UK.

He’s a blogger, speaker, coach and advisor

Want some quick advice?

I regularly schedule calls to answer your questions, it all starts with a quick message from you.

Anthony gets to know you so that the shoot is tailored to your needs. I’d recommend him to anyone and will definitely be using him again in future.

Chris O'Donaghue

5 Reasons why you should have a great business headshot

5 reasons why You should have a Great Headshot

Anthony Farrimond

It is well documented that we are in the digital age right now, customers flocking online to research and find out more about you and your company before they commit to buy or even before they contact you.  If you and your business have an online presence, it’s vital to get that first impression right.  So I’m going to share 5 reasons why you should have a great headshot!

1. What do you look like?

Have you ever attended a meeting, course, conference or even lunch and had no idea what your contact looked like?  Or worse still, not recognised them immediately because their Twitter profile photograph is of them on the beach with sunglasses on?  Without someone introducing you, for example a mutual business partner or receptionist, how will your clients recognise you?

2. Are you even real?

You have less chance of connecting with a prospective client online with the stock “no image” or your own company logo than you would if you have a professional headshot.  This is because since the dawn of social media, we have been bombarded with spam accounts and fake followers.  This leads nicely on to the next reason why you should have a great headshot!

we want to get this right so that our connections will trust us, that we are genuine

3.  Can I trust you?

I spoke earlier about the first impression, we want to get this right so that our connections will trust us, that we are genuine, honest and that we deliver.  How many social media accounts have you passed up on because their image was taken at a social occasion, blatantly out of date, on holiday?  I have personally seen professional LinkedIn accounts where an individual has used an old infant photograph.  What message does that put out there for you?

4. Where else can I find you?

Person branding is important for tying your web presence all together.  That’s not to say that all your social media accounts need to be exactly the same, but they all need to be shot around the same time and be consistent in appearance.  There is a higher chance of a connection following you on Twitter, automatically adding you on other networks, simply because they found your profile image elsewhere.  If they have searched for you on Google, and trust me they will, Google will present them with images and in turn, they will link to other pages you appear on.  Consistency is key!

5. Can I use your image?

Finally, you never know when someone is going to ask you for a professional headshot to feature you or highlight your organisation, so it’s just a good idea to have one on hand!

If you’re looking for the official word on what’s appropriate, LinkedIn have published their guidelines on ensuring you are seen in the right light, you can read it here.  So they are my 5 top reasons, can you think of any?  Whats the best and the worse you’ve seen? (not naming names!)

Anthony is best known as a leading headshot and portrait photographer, working primarily with actors & businesses across the UK.

He’s a blogger, speaker, coach and advisor

Want some quick advice?

I regularly schedule calls to answer your questions, it all starts with a quick message from you.

What sets Anthony apart is that he really takes the time to understand exactly who you are as a performer, both by having a discussion before the shoot and constantly during the session.

Lucy Ivison

5 Top Business Headshot tips

5 Top Business Headshots tips

Anthony Farrimond

You are your own shop window for your career prospects, so in an age where your professional history is available at the click of a website, it’s vital that your online networking CV show you in your best light. It’s important to create the right image for your CV and professional networking profile.

I’d always recommend hiring a professional photographer, as time and money invested in your approach, will encourage employers to want to invest time and money in you. So how to start? Here are my five top tips:

1. Write a brief for your photographer

Before the day of the shoot, It will be important to make sure that your photographer knows as much about your expected outcomes as possible. What type of industry do you wish to work in? A corporate image will require different lighting and background to a more informal setting.

2. Dress like you already have the job

Clothing and mannerisms give HR Managers instant cues as to whether they feel a candidate is a good cultural fit for a job. Take time to think about your outfit for your photo shoot and think about how you want to stand, sit, lean. Your photographer will guide you on all of this and put you at ease, but it’s good to have an idea in mind of how you wish to be portrayed.

Relax and enjoy the time being photographed.

3. Don’t be too fashionable

Fashion moves so quickly, yet you might want to keep your professional photographs for a number of years. This is why I would recommend keeping clothing and accessory fairly neutral, along with hairstyles and makeup that might look out of place within the next few years

4. Wear the right shoes (or none at all)

Again, this is something that your photographer will guide you on, but wearing uncomfortable shoes will have an awkward knock-on effect through your entire body when posing, especially if you are a bit nervous! Try and feel as comfortable as possible, relax and enjoy the time being photographed.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask!

If you have an idea of how you wish to stand, or a certain location you want to use, make sure you suggest it to the photographer for their expert input. The outcome of any professional shoot should leave you with a product you’ll be proud to use, and this is always the result of teamwork between the photographer and client.

Anthony is best known as a leading headshot and portrait photographer, working primarily with actors & businesses across the UK.

He’s a blogger, speaker, coach and advisor

Want some quick advice?

I regularly schedule calls to answer your questions, it all starts with a quick message from you.

What sets Anthony apart is that he really takes the time to understand exactly who you are as a performer, both by having a discussion before the shoot and constantly during the session.

Lucy Ivison

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